J Lawton Smith Award Recipient

J Lawton Smith was one of the original founders of the COS.  He was globally well known as a neuroophthalmologist who was charismatic in practice and his faith!

The J Lawton Smith Award is given out each year at the COS Annual Meeting to an ophthalmologist who has shown a lifetime commmitment to serving the Lord through their personal practice of excellence in medicine, academic influence, and/or missionary dedication.

Enoch Tsai Tributes




Award Year:

March 15, 1941 ~ December 29, 2022

Dr. Enoch Tsai, MD, passed away on December 29, 2022, while visiting with his son, Dr. Jonathan Tsai, in Temple, Texas.

Enoch was born in Fujian Province, China. As a teenager, he suffered persecution for his faith in Christ, culminating in his expulsion from trade school in 1959 for practicing his faith. He was unable to pursue other educational activities and had no means of leaving the country. Eventually, in November 1963, at the age of 22, Enoch was able to leave China for Hong Kong. There he studied for two years before coming to the U.S. to pursue undergraduate and medical training at the University of Miami, where he graduated in 1970.

As an immigrant studying medicine in a foreign language, Dr. Tsai experienced the Lord’s provision through friends, his local church, a generous scholarship for which he did not apply, and two part-time jobs. In 1976 he completed his ophthalmology residency at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta and opened a private ophthalmology practice in Aiken, South Carolina. He cared for patients there for 40 years until his retirement in 2016.

Below are tributes from two former COS Board Presidents and a long time COS member.

My Personal Memories of Dr. Enoch Tsai

Faithful. Devout. Loyal. Humble. Excellence.

These words describe how I remember Enoch as a friend, trusted COS Board Member, Ophthalmologist, husband, and father. When I was first gloriously introduced to Enoch by Dr. J Lawton Smith, I was struck by his quiet and humble nature and enormous smile. He was such a gentle spirit, someone who you immediately felt comfortable to be around, and who was always interested in you, your activities, and your family. He always had an eye on exactly where the love of his life, his wife Leng was, and was quick to take care of her every need, as she was to him as well. They were an adoring couple, with 3 of the most handsome and respectful children I had ever met.

As I took over the presidency of the COS in 1990 through the encouragement of Dr. Smith, I was unsure as to how to lead such a diverse and spiritually mature group of Christian Ophthalmologists. Enoch was always there to offer guidance and wisdom, when asked. He was an outstanding COS Board member, serving as the Treasurer during my tenure. There were times when the COS Board was unsure where to have the next annual meeting, as a host had not arisen from the ranks yet. Always, without fail, Enoch would enthusiastically volunteer his time and his family to serve when needed. This occurred 4 different times!! Enoch and Leng first introduced COS branded merchandise to our COS annual meetings, and the items were always a big hit.

Enoch maintained a busy private practice of surgical ophthalmology with lovingkindness and excellence throughout his career. He was an outstanding surgeon, and remarkable clinician. His patients adored him. When he was not working in his office, he was being the most available father and grandfather I have ever witnessed. He was always there for his children, with that wonderful smile and quiet support for his whole family.

The COS will miss the presence of this remarkable servant of God. He was a solid symbol of God’s grace in the COS for over 30 years. I will personally miss the times that Enoch would lead the COS in worship, singing in a surprising loud and wonderfully spirit filled voice, “How Great Thou Art” or “It is Well with My Soul”. It always brought tears to my eyes.

Bradley Farris, MD
COS President 1990-2000

Enoch was a quiet man of great faith. He was a beloved physician, and he adored his wife, children, and grandchildren. He loved musical worship and was a talented musician himself.

As a long time Board member, and as a model of the faith, Enoch was wonderful at the difficult task of balancing human efforts with trust in God. A regular discussion was what each year’s package of support for students, residents, fellows, and missionaries to attend the annual meeting would look like. We wanted to be wise stewards of our resources but also demonstrate faith in the God who provides. Without fail, Enoch helped the Board achieve that balance every year, and every year we had just enough for everyone who came. Sometimes of course, this was because Enoch and a small cadre would make an extra donation, but always it was because Enoch led us to quiet ourselves and hear from God on what the number should be that year.

I look forward to seeing him in heaven and am glad that he is now fully alive.

R. Michael Siatkowski, MD, MBA
COS President 2000-2009

I was shocked to just learn of the death of the wonderful Dr. Enoch Tsai. Although my interaction with him were not as involved as the former presidents of the COS that gave him these recent tributes, nonetheless they describe him in a consistent manner that I found upon my first impression and ever since.

He was indeed a role model for young Christians like myself. He epitomized the quiet, humble, selfless, faithful servant who dedicated his life in a balanced and almost super-human manner to his Lord, his family, his friends, his patients, and the COS. Like the incredible examples I saw in the COS leadership and many of its members that I was so honored to have witnessed, he was dauntless in his volunteer service and financial support…and did so without fanfare or knowledge by anyone outside the COS leadership. Personally knowing his amazing son, he was just as faithful in passing on his Christian values to his children and their children.

The Bible says in Genesis 5:22: “…Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years….”.

I believe history will show Enoch and his progeny will do the same in the next 300 years.

Dr. Steven Grimes
COS member since 1995




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